If you’re tired all the time and/or waking up in the middle of the night, every night, you might be feeling at a loss. Keeping a sleep diary is a great way to figure out if you’re actually getting the rest you need. For many, this simple practice can point toward patterns that indicate a serious sleep disorder, like sleep apnea. Keeping one can also be a big help for your doctor in determining if you need treatment. If you aren’t familiar with sleep diaries or how to create one and you fear that you might have sleep apnea in Downtown Denver, keep reading!
Should I Use a Sleep Diary?
A sleep diary is a method for keeping track of your current sleep habits and patterns. If you are suffering from common sleep apnea symptoms, a sleep diary can help you confirm if you need to get in touch with a sleep doctor. The most common symptoms of sleep apnea include the following.
- Loud or chronic snoring
- Chronic fatigue throughout the day
- Choking or gasping for air while sleeping
- Sudden pauses in breathing during sleep
- Morning headaches
- Frequent nighttime urination
Remember, if you experience these symptoms and see them pop up again and again in your sleep diary, then it’s time to reach out for help.
How to Use a Sleep Diary
To start, you’ll need to make a chart with spaces dedicated to your current sleep habits. These charts can be found online and often include the following sections:
- How long you think it took to fall asleep after going to bed
- Any food or beverages you had prior to going to sleep and when you had them
- The number of times you woke up in the middle of the night (and how long it took you to get back to sleep)
- Whether or not you had caffeine or alcohol before going to bed
- Emotions or stress you may have been feeling before bed
- Current medications you are taking
How a Sleep Diary Helps Your Doctor
It’s important to note that a sleep diary does not absolutely confirm if sleep apnea is present. Rather, it’s meant to act as a stepping stone for future evaluation and examination with a professional. For example, the STOP-BANG assessment is another common option for patients to consider. This lists a series of detailed questions centered around sleep apnea-related symptoms.
If you fear that you might have sleep apnea based on your sleep diary, make sure to mention it to your doctor. During your visit, show them what you’ve recorded so far. This will make it easier to build a diagnosis and determine the best treatment moving forward.
By taking a few moments each day to keep a sleep diary, you can take your first step towards better rest and health. Schedule an appointment with a sleep doctor today to get started!
About the Author
Dr. Gary Radz can really empathize with those who have sleep apnea. He was diagnosed 10 years ago himself!. Today, he’s happy to offer multiple oral appliances that treat obstructive sleep apnea at the source, ensuring you can get a good night’s sleep. To schedule an appointment and see if an oral appliance could help you, you can contact him through his website.